It usually happens that employees of a certain company get involved in a motor vehicle accident during the scope of their employment and actually have no idea which route to take pertaining to their compensation claim procedure.
In the above mentioned instance, it’s possible to claim from both funds at the same time, however same shall be dealt with in detail in the blog below.
In order to qualify to claim from the Road Accident Fund (herein after referred to as RAF), the criteria of the Road Accident Fund Act should be met. The same applies to claiming from the compensation fund in terms of the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (herein after referred to as COIDA). Section 17 of the RAF states that any person involved and subsequently gets injured in a motor vehicle accident within the Republic, shall be entitled to claim from the RAF only if such injury or death was caused by the negligent driving of another driver. Should it be the case that the person involved in the accident, his/her dependants will be entitled to claim from the fund for losses incurred, i.e funeral expenses or future maintenance. On the other hand, employees who got injured from 1 March 1994 will be able to claim from the Compensation Fund in terms of COIDA. Employees who got injured before the 1st of March 1994 will still fall under the old Workmen’s Compensation. The current COIDA makes provision for employees to claim against the fund if they were injured as a result of the employer’s negligence or any other employee’s negligence.
Section 21 of the RAF Act provides that no claim for damages resulting in bodily injury or death caused by or arising from the driving of a motor vehicle shall lie against the owner or driver of a motor vehicle or the employer of the driver of the motor vehicle, except in limited circumstances. For instance limited circumstances refers to claiming against the negligent driver of the motor vehicle for patrimonial damages such as broken glasses or damaged cellphone which occurred during the accident. On the other hand, section 35 of COIDA states that no action shall be instituted bv an employee for the recovery of damages in respect of any occupational injury against the employee’s employer.
In light of the above stated, it might be confusing to a lot of people now that both acts have certain provisions in common.
However, the position is that should it happen that employees get involved in a motor vehicle accident during the scope of their employment and all the relevant provision of both acts are met, they can proceed to institute a claim against both funds, however a double compensation is prohibited as stated in the next paragraph.
The court held that, in the matter of Lategan v Jansen Van Rensburg and Others, taking the context of Section 18 (2) of the RAF Act, an employee who is regarded an employee in terms of COIDA, when involved in a motor vehicle accident during the scope of his/her employment, is entitled to compensation as a result of the accident, such employee will be able to recover compensation from both the RAF and COIDA. However the compensation recovered in terms of COIDA is to be deducted from the award made in terms of the RAF to avoid double compensation.
However, take note that one cannot claim and benefit the full amounts as claimed from both funds pertaining to the same accident. As stated in the previous paragraph that a deduction of the difference will be made in such cases.